Women's basketball comeback falls short in Montana

(Source: UM Athletics)
University of Montana senior Jordan Sullivan prepares to shoot in Saturday’s game against Weber State University. The Grizzlies defeated the Wildcats 68-52.

Many basketball players have dreamed of being in that zone where no one could stop them from making shots from anywhere on the court. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and now Kevin Durant have all had those moments. So did the Weber State University women’s basketball team for part of the second half against the University of Montana.

But eventually the Grizzlies got some key stops on their way to 68-52 win. The loss dropped the Wildcats’ Big Sky Conference record to 0-8, with an overall record of 4-13.

“We kept them to their lowest amount of 3-pointers made in a game all season, which was great,” said WSU head coach Bethann Ord. “But they play great at home and it’s a tough environment to go into and get a win. We struggled with free-throw shooting, and they did not. We can’t give them free points and not make ours.”

(Source: UM Athletics)
University of Montana senior Torry Hill attempts to dribble past Weber State University sophomore Desiree Ramos. Hill and Ramos led their respective teams in scoring.

After leading for a majority of the first half, the Wildcats struggled to score points, which allowed the Grizzlies to squeak past them for a one-point lead going into halftime. By snatching the momentum, the Grizzlies were able to get the home crowd back into the game, which helped them start the second half on fire.

With their hot shooting mixed with some poor execution on the Wildcats’ end, the Grizzlies extended their lead into double figures with less than 10 minutes left in the game. Then WSU sophomore Desiree Ramos did her best Durant impression and started to make it rain.

The Wildcat defense stifled the Grizzlies, causing them to take tough shots and forced turnovers. Ramos took those opportunities and started the team on a comeback. After an easy bucket, Ramos turned to something she has done all year: getting open beyond the arc and making the other team pay.

“Des found the open shots, but once they had to cover her, she was able to find her teammates,” Ord said. “When she is making her shots, she is able to create shots for others.”

After back-to-back 3-pointers, which brought her team within seven, the Grizzlies decided to play a little defense on her. Ramos recognized the change and got her teammates involved as the double and triple teams constantly left someone open.

One of those was Elizabeth Mounier, who caught a pass from Ramos and drained the deep ball to cut the lead to four. That run took the air out of the crowd, and the Grizzlies seemed flustered by the sudden hot stroke the Wildcats had found.

“It felt good to make those big shots, but it was a lot of help from my teammates from setting screens to get me open,” Ramos said. “Once I starting making the shots, the defense got on me pretty good, which gave me a chance to find my teammates.”

But the Grizzlies found their composure and stopped the run just as fast as it had started. They were able to get to the free-throw line and force the Wildcats into some turnovers and defended shot attempts. In the dying moments, the good free-throw shooting of the Grizzlies didn’t allow the Wildcats back into the game.

Ramos led the Wildcats with 17 points on 6-20 shooting, while adding three assists in a team-high 37 minutes played. She was the only Wildcat in double figures. Amanda Hughes poured in seven points and four rebounds.

The Wildcats will return home to face off against Northern Arizona University on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.